SEATTLE – In America we are free to have any opinions we choose.
We can believe that white people stole the land from Native Americans and should leave as soon as possible. We can believe the Christian religion only exists to maintain the economic domination of white people.
We can believe that hard work is pointless, because laborers in capitalistic societies will never be rewarded. We can believe that our public schools are fundamentally racist and homophobic.
But is there reason to worry when thousands of college and K-12 instructors start subscribing to these radical beliefs, and carry them back to their classrooms to share with students?
Approximately 2,000 people from 41 states and four nations-including many educators- gathered in Seattle in April 10-13 for the “White Privilege Conference 14.”
On the surface, the term “white privilege” means that white Americans, due to their status as the majority race, enjoy rights, benefits and opportunities that racial minorities do not.
But this conference involved much more than the concept of white privilege. It involved three days of bashing the United States, its history, white Americans, the Christian faith, the concept of hard work, and our free enterprise economic system.
In short, these educators gathered to share their general disapproval of our nation and express their shame about being Americans. Their ultimate goal seems to be an eventual transformation of the nation into the type of socialist, authoritarian state they seem to prefer.
But most frightening was the unmistakable message that these educators received: They should carry their revolutionary message back to the children they teach in their hometowns.
The goal – as outrageous as it might seem – is to create a future generation of radical socialists, right under their parents’ noses.
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At some point taxpayers who support public universities, colleges and particularly K-12 schools must ask themselves: Is this what we pay our hard-earned dollars for?
Rich people have no souls?
Where to begin when describing the bizarre ideas espoused at the White Privilege Conference, by various keynote and workshop speakers?
One speaker, Bob Jensen, described American capitalism as “a death cult” and said corporations “are fascist” in nature. He also said our free enterprise system is “inhuman, undemocratic and unsustainable.”
He said capitalism forces people to “maximize the worst part of yourself” – greed.
“Rich people have a lot of problems, a lot of moral problems, partly because they have no soul,” Jensen said. “Capitalists are not human.”
A workshop led by Daniel Lee and Kerry Fox taught attendees that breaking the law in any given circumstance isn’t necessarily bad, people who follow the rules don’t get anywhere in life, and the U.S. Constitution was written for the specific benefit of white, property-owning, Christian males.
Lee and Fox criticized the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a historic civil rights organization, because they believe it does not advance the interests of black people, but simply recruits them into white culture.
They sarcastically refer to it as the “National Association for the Assimilation of Colored People.”
Another speaker, Paul Kivel, argued that free enterprise is designed to punish the poor and reward the rich, and that our capitalistic economic system uses Christianity as a tool to keep the working class from rebelling. Employees are fed the myth that if they work hard enough God will bless them and allow them to advance economically and socially.
It’s one thing for educators to sit and listen to this garbage. But do they intend to share it with students?
Obviously so. The conference actually invites some students to take part in the “Youth Action Project,” which is described as “a team of experienced facilitators (providing) a safe and challenging space, geared toward youth of ALL ethnic backgrounds, who are committed to understanding and dismantling white supremacy, white privilege and other forms of oppression.”
“Students will PROCEED as leaders, planting ongoing seeds of change.”
One workshop at the conference was obviously designed to help educators hone their political indoctrination skills with students back home.
“Together we will revisit and re-energize our skills to better guide and nurture youth voices,” a description of the workshop said.
An overriding Marxist themeDr. Mary Grabar
Most Americans might be stunned to learn that teachers are espousing radical left-wing ideology.
Dr. Mary Grabar is not among them.
The veteran university professor has watched radicals come to dominate college and university campuses over the past few decades, and has been watching the trend spread to K-12 public schools.
“I think it started happening in the 1960s,” Grabar, who most recently taught at Emory University, told EAGnews. “If you go read the manifesto of the Students for a Democratic Society, they explicitly said they would bypass traditional political channels and go into the institutions (like education).”
Radical college professors go out of their way to produce like-minded K-12 teachers, Grabar said.
“If you go to colleges of education and look at the specializations of professors instructing future teachers, you will see stuff like ‘queer history,’ ‘post colonialism’ and ‘gender studies,’” Grabar said. “It’s built into the curriculum.”
Many so-called professional conferences are designed to pound the revolutionary message home for working teachers, Grabar said. While the Seattle conference may have been a bit over the top, many modern K-12 teaching conferences have the same basic message.
“I went to the National Council for Social Studies conference in 2009 – I forget how many thousands of members were there – and of the hundreds of workshops and panel discussions, most seemed to be devoted to bringing issues of social justice into the classroom,” Grabar said.
What does that really mean?
“The goal is not equal rights or creating opportunities for everyone to do their best,”Grabar said. “The goal is to distribute wealth more equally. It has an overriding Marxist theme.
“I think more teachers accept it than do not. I don’t have any firm numbers. But you just look at the education colleges and the courses being offered and you get a pretty good picture. Most are producing teachers who want to make political activists out of students.”
The term ‘social justice’ sounds nice
Radical teachers understand that it wouldn’t be smart to march into their schools carrying replicas of the old Soviet flag or photos of Marx or Castro.
They learn that subtlety is necessary to convey their message without arousing community suspicion.
That’s a typical theme at many teacher professional conferences, Grabar said.
“They are basically sharing strategies for how to fool administrators and communities into thinking they are teaching about ethical and social standards when they are really pursuing their idea of social justice indoctrination,” Grabar said. “That’s the dominant opinion I’ve heard at conferences – their goal is to make students into ‘global citizens’ and teach social justice. White privilege is just part of that larger agenda.”
How do teachers manage to communicate these radical ideas without students becoming uneasy or parents noticing?
It’s all in the choice of words and delivery, according to Grabar.
“If students are introduced to the word ‘socialism,’ where people share, poverty is eliminated and society is fair, without proper context, it sounds pretty good,” she said. “If you look at the Pew survey done regarding attitudes toward socialism among 18 to 29 year olds, more of them approved of socialism than capitalism.
“One thing people need to be aware of is that these lessons are imparted emotionally. There is a lot of emotional manipulation in classrooms. Kids are being manipulated into feeling guilty about their status, and I think they may often not say anything about that to their parents.”
Soft terms like “social justice” often come in handy for radical teachers, Grabar said.
“The natural inclination is that social justice is a good thing,” she said. “Most Americans are fair-minded. They don’t like racism, they don’t like poverty, they don’t like discrimination in any form. They are inclined to allow these kinds of lessons in the classroom, because they think they represent American values.
“I don’t think they’re aware of the bigger theories behind all of this.”
Ashleigh Costello contributed to this report